Popcorn with Lavender Pepper

A delicious popcorn snackI’ve been thinking a lot about my “brand.” What am I all about and what do I want to share with you, my reader. I’ve been making lists and thinking about what I love. And one thing that keeps making it on to those lists is snacks. Wait, what?! Hey, turns out I love snacks. And here is a super easy one for you. On my last trip to Temecula I picked up some lavender pepper from the spice shop. I’ve been dying to use it and this just made sense. I’m trying to eat healthier snacks (but you know me, my quest for health usually lasts just for a few weeks) and popcorn is an awesome option. And so I made popcorn with lavender pepper.

Popcorn with Lavender PepperIt’s healthiest if you make it at home in an air popper or special microwave bowl, but it should also be noted that “lazy” is on my list of things about me. Trader Joe’s has a bag of reduced guilt popcorn that is a great base. Then all you need is some lavender pepper and sea salt. Now, I realize that you probably won’t have lavender pepper. Especially since this is the first time I’ve ever seen it. But you can pick up edible lavender on amazon or some local markets. Just add that and some fresh peppercorns to a spice mill or old coffee grinder to make your own. And be sure to taste your popcorn first to see just how salty it is before adding more.

Lavender and Pepper popcornBecause I am trying to not add calories, only flavor, I usually spritz the tiniest bit of water on the popcorn to help the spices stick. Weird, I know. But it would also work to toss the popcorn with a little melted butter or olive oil.  What is your favorite way to eat popcorn?

 

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Chocolate Peppermint Italian Soda #StreamTeam

New Year's Eve Kids Treat. Chocolate Peppermint Italian Sodas  #spon #StreamTeamThis post is brought to you in partnership with Netflix. All opinions are my own. I’m part of their #StreamTeam and it’s awesome.

My kids love Christmas, of course. But they LOVE New Year’s Eve. As they’ve gotten older, my husband and I have been enjoying spending New Year’s Eve with them too. Getting to stay up and “rage” until midnight is one of the coolest things ever to them. And for some reason, they are really well-behaved and super fun to be around (if you are a parent, you know how those days go where you just can’t wait for them to get to bed…). This holiday is no longer about being out on the town in sparkly clothes and drinking too much. For us, we stay at home, spend time together, enjoy the TV broadcasts where they are freezing their buns off in New York, and indulge in several treats throughout the night. This year we’ll be having these Chocolate Peppermint Italian Sodas.

Chocolate Peppermint Italian Sodas  #spon #StreamTeamYou only need a few things to make these and they take just a second. The basics for any Italian soda are the same, milk (or cream), syrup and club soda. But you can change-up the flavors to make them in a ton of flavors. This year, my kids are super in to peppermint so I decided to create one last treat for the holiday season with it. I know you can use peppermint in January but it just feels so wrong!

Chocolate Peppermint Italian Sodas  #spon #StreamTeamMix them up, top with club soda, spray on a little whipped cream and top with some crushed candy cane. Done.

Chocolate Peppermint Italian Sodas  #spon #StreamTeamThis may look like a lot but it is mostly club soda. My ratio may have been off a little bit in this size jar. I would say to add some soda, give a little stir and do a taste test to see if you need more. And since this is the blogging world, I needed this to be all the way to the top so the whipped cream could be seen better…

Chocolate Peppermint Italian Sodas  #spon #StreamTeamFor sure use a straw. Straws are festive.

Chocolate Peppermint Italian Sodas. A fun New Year's Eve treat for kids.  #spon #StreamTeamThe rest of our New Year’s celebrating is pretty low-key. Of course there will be party hats, some balloons (because I don’t know about you but my kids can be entertained for HOURS with balloons!) and special candy. These chocolate peppermint italian sodas are perfect for the whole family. I don’t even drink at all on New Year’s Eve any more. It makes me too tired. I don’t want to be the party pooper! But if you wanted something a little more “festive” you could absolutely add vodka.

Chocolate Peppermint Italian Sodas  #spon #StreamTeamNew Year’s Eve is the perfect time to try a new treat. But not all of our night is based around food…We do these countdown bags every year as well. It is a really great way to keep the kids entertained and looking forward to the next hour. There is nothing worse than a bored, tired kid, am I right? Pick up little activities while you are out finishing up your stocking stuffers and you will be all set!

Thank you for supporting the brands that let me create and share with you, like Netflix!

Viewing party for #KingJulien the new show on Netflix #StreamTeamOn December 19th, Netflix is debuting a new, original series called, All Hail King Julien, of Madagascar fame (watch the trailer!). We got the chance to preview a few episodes this past weekend and brought the cousins along for some extra fun. The show is really funny! I heard the adults and kids laughing through out. Your kids will love this!

Craft time at #KingJulien. #StreamTeamThe Netflix team put on a really fun event with all kinds of activities that enhanced the King Julien experience. The kids learned a dance to the theme song of the show which was super amazing to watch (and my kids have continued to perform it at home for me). And there was a craft table to create your own crown or hat similar to the one King Julien wears.

Netflix will probably be part of our New Year’s Eve festivities. We’ll probably watch more King Julien episodes, especially since a really fun New Year’s Eve party kit just arrived – thank you Netflix! But as I was browsing around looking for a few shows to recommend, my youngest son and I became enthralled with this series called The Adventures of Figaro Pho. It’s about an odd little boy who has tons of phobias. This is definitely boy’s club stuff. Lots of farts. No talking, but great music to enhance the moods. And the subtitles are of the funny noises the characters make. So if you have little boys, check it out. And if you are still in the market for holiday movies, check out the top 20 movies to stream on Netflix this holiday season. And tonight we will be watching the original Annie. My boys want to see the updated version on the big screen so we decided we should watch the original so we can compare and contrast. I can’t wait to sing all the songs! Bet your bottom dollar it will annoy the kids!

Chocolate Peppermint Italian Soda #StreamTeam
 
These yummy chocolate peppermint sodas are the perfect treat during the holiday season. These are made for my kids but you can make these more "fun" by adding some vodka (to yours...)!
Recipe type: Beverage
Ingredients
  • 3 TBSP chocolate syrup
  • ⅛ tsp peppermint extract (it is VERY strong - I'd start with a few drops and get to the flavor you prefer)
  • ¼ cup milk
  • Club Soda
  • whipped cream (optional)
  • crushed candy cane (optional but super cute)
Instructions
  1. In a glass, mix together the chocolate syrup, peppermint and milk.
  2. Add ice.
  3. Top with Club Soda to taste
  4. Top with whipped cream and crushed candy cane.

 

Microwave Bread Pudding in a Mug

Single serve microwave chocolate bread pudding recipe.This post is created in conjunction with Kings Hawaiian and their delicious, sweet, wonderful breads. All opinions are my own!

We are fully in to the holiday crazy around here. I am almost done Christmas shopping, we took our family photo for our christmas cards, and I’ve got my list of all the holiday treats I need to make for pretty much everyone we know. For years I let the holiday stress make me crazy and suck the joy right out of this most wonderful time of the year. But I’ve realized that in this insane post-Thanksgiving weeks, is OK and very important to take some time for yourself. As most therapists would tell you, you should always eat your feelings (no, wait! – but it works for me) so I decided to make a super comforting dessert. For just me. Because this post is all about me. And this Microwave Bread Pudding in a Mug is delicious. And it’s not really in a mug but who cares. This dish works way better. And you probably get a little bit more…

Single serving bread pudding recipe for the microwave! Super simple ingredients. This small pack of King’s Hawaiian Rolls would actually make two servings. And all of these ingredients can be found at Target which is awesome because when you are done with your gift and toilet paper buying, you can grab these things to make yourself a wonderful treat.  And I know sometimes it doesn’t feel like it, during December, but you are allowed to sit down on the couch for a minute and turn on the TV. Any time of the day. Because you deserve it.

Single serve microwave chocolate bread pudding recipe.This recipe used a few more bowls than a normal mug cake but I probably could have done it all in the ramekin. Basically, mix everything together.

Single serve microwave chocolate bread pudding recipe.Then pour it over buttered, cubed bread.  Yes, other bread would work, but these sweet rolls were perfection. I used about 1 and 1/2 rolls. I wanted to make sure that there was enough of the custardy part so I left out the other half of the last roll.  I think I could have included it and it still would have been a great consistency.

Single serve microwave chocolate bread pudding recipe.Then add your chocolate. I used a few tablespoons of a semi-sweet chocolate baking bar but chocolate chips would work also.

Mace. It's just like nutmeg! Then before I went to the microwave, I gave her a little dusting of Mace. Mace is basically nutmeg but, like, way cooler because you rarely hear about it.

Single serve microwave chocolate bread pudding recipe.The reason you want to use a lower, wider vessel, in place of the mug in this case is because you want the bread to be able to be covered in the egg mixture and stay really moist. That really doesn’t explain why, but hey, I’m not a baker. Or scientist. I just like to eat. It goes in the microwave for 1 minute and then you check it to see if there is still liquid. I microwaved it for another 30 seconds, checked it again and then did one more burst of 15. Do not over cook it.

A little extra chocolate sauce never hurt nobody.I thought I may want to have a little extra chocolate sauce to make this thing even more decadent but it wasn’t really needed! But depending how stressed out you are, you may want it. Extra chocolate is always a good idea.

Single serve microwave chocolate bread pudding recipe.So pour yourself a cup of coffee, and then go to town on this super yummy dessert. It was delicious. Before this, I would have told you I wasn’t a fan of bread puddings. But this one, with all that chocolatey goodness is perfection. I was stunned out how tasty it was coming out of the microwave.

Take some time for yourself this holiday.It’s like they say on the plane, but the oxygen mask on yourself first before you help your child. If you ain’t breathing, no one else is. Take care of yourself. There is some great TV on right now too. Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce is super edgy and kind of hard to watch but still really good and the Hallmark Channel has been killing it in the holiday movie department. I’ve watched SO MANY! I’d say it is a mild obsession. I used to just watch them while I wrapped Christmas presents but now…well let’s just say it makes you feel good to watch love blossom and Christmas be saved, time after time.

Single serve microwave chocolate bread pudding recipe.I’m wishing you the least stressful holiday ever. But just knowing you can make this microwave bread pudding in a mug helps a little, right?

Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Cupcakes and Cutlery going and make delicious products, like King’s Hawaiian.

 

Microwave Bread Pudding in a Mug
 
You can customize this super easy bread pudding with whatever flavors you like. This one is with chocolate and is super yum.
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • 1½-2 King's Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
  • approx. 1 TBSP butter, to spread on bread
  • 2 TBSP chocolate (I used semi-sweet, but this is your flavor preference)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • ⅛ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • Sprinkle of nutmeg or mace
Instructions
  1. Cut King's Hawaiian sweet rolls in half, making a top and bottom.
  2. Spread each section with a little butter
  3. Cut buttered bread in to cubes, each half would make about 4 cubes.
  4. Add bread to your ramekin.
  5. In a bowl, whisk together egg, sugar, milk, vanilla and cinnamon.
  6. Pour over the bread cubes and give a gentle stir.
  7. Add in your chocolate pieces or chips and give a gentle stir to combine.
  8. Put in microwave, uncovered and cook for 1 minute.
  9. Check to see if there is any liquid left, if yes, cook another 30 seconds.
  10. Check again, and if needed, cook another 15-30 seconds.
  11. You want to make sure the custard is set.
  12. Top with whipped cream, chocolate sauce or whatever you feel is right.
  13. Then eat!

 

 

Holiday Best

Best of holiday posts. Everything from decor, crafts and lots of yummy treats.

Last minute gift idea for your girls

Photo garland with your kid’s photos

 

Holiday Entertaining:

Chic Cookie Exchange Inspo

Balloon signs for your party decor

 

Party Foods, Treats and Drinks:

Best Cheese Ball Ever

Best Caramel Corn Ever

Kitchen Sink Oreo Cookie Balls

Peanut Butter Pie

Homemade Cinnamon Candy

Edible Confetti for hot beverages and cocktails

Orange Cardamom Hot Chocolate

Brown Sugar Bacon Butter

Spiced Clementine Margarita

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail

Sherry Cake

Cinnamon Walnuts

Spiced Pear Cocktail

Orange Spiced Iced Coffee

Spiced Pear Bellini

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail Recipe.Oh hey there delicious cocktail. While I call this a spiced cranberry bourbon cocktail it can also be called Christmas in a glass. Last year, I had a delicious spiced cranberry cocktail at Mozza and I had to figure out how to recreate it. So I played around with it and this is what I came up with. It is delicious and flavorful and, surprisingly, more steps than I usually do for a recipe. But it must be done to get that full flavor. I love the vibrant color and the yummy, yummy flavor.

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail Recipe.You simply start with store-bought cranberry juice and then jazz it up by infusing it with warm holiday spices.

Smash cinnamon sticks before simmering them in cranberry juice. One thing I like to do when infusing things with cinnamon is to give the sticks a little whack with the back of the knife to open them up. Then I just scoop up the pieces and dust and put them wherever they need to know. I feel like it helps to open up the flavors a little bit more. And its fun to smash them. Lay the cinnamon sticks as flat as you can, lay your knife flat on top and then give it a whack with the heel of your hand. Take care not to be near the blade. Losing your hand around the holidays would not be cool.

Warm spices add flavor to store-bought cranberry juice. Add your flavor agents to your sauce pot and then add in your bottle of cranberry juice. Let the mixture simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. It will reduce down a bit but does not become syrupy. What I love about this is that once this jazzed up cranberry juice is made, you can easily put together cocktails for the next few weeks. Or have a big batch ready to make them for a party.

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail Recipe.Once the cranberry juice mixture has simmered and cooled, strain it in to decorative bottles or put it back in to the cleaned, original cranberry juice bottle. Then you just need to grab a few more ingredients to put the drink together. Bourbon. Ginger beer and fresh nutmeg. Yum.

The spiced cranberry juice would make a great cocktail kit gift idea. These bottles of spiced cranberry juice would be a great gift idea. Use a cute bottle like the one above, and then provide the bottle of cranberry juice along with the recipe on a cute card and even a bottle of bourbon and some ginger beer. You could totally wrap that up all cute in a basket with holiday cheer.

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail Recipe.Then it’s time to put this thing together. Add the cranberry and bourbon in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake it up.

Top the spiced cranberry and bourbon with ginger beer. Yum!Strain into a glass over ice. Top with ginger beer and give it a little stir.

Fresh nutmeg is where it's at.Grate some fresh nutmeg right on top. Your nose will thank you.

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail Recipe.Holiday in a glass. Boom.

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail Recipe.This is the perfect holiday entertaining beverage. Or for a cozy night by a fire.

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail Recipe.Holiday cocktails make me happy.

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail Recipe.Do you like cranberry cocktails? What is your go-to holiday drink?

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail
 
This cocktail tastes like Christmas.
Recipe type: Cocktail
Ingredients
  • Spiced Cranberry Juice
  • 1 bottle 64 oz. Cranberry Juice (I like Langers best)
  • 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut in to large chunks
  • 3 cinnamon sticks, cracked
  • ¾ tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • For the Cocktail:
  • 3 oz spiced cranberry juice (recipe above)
  • 1.5 oz Bourbon
  • 3 oz. Ginger Beer
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan, add cranberry juice, ginger, cinnamon sticks and nutmeg.
  2. Simmer on medium heat for about 45 minutes.
  3. The juice will reduce a little bit but not become syrupy.
  4. Once cooled, strain with cheesecloth or a coffee filter in to a container.
  5. For cocktail:
  6. Add spiced cranberry juice and Bourbon to a cocktail shaker.
  7. Add ice and shake well.
  8. Strain in to a glass with ice.
  9. Top with 3 oz. of ginger beer and give a quick stir.
  10. Grate fresh nutmeg on top of each cocktail.
  11. Recipe above makes approximately 2 cocktails depending on your size of glass.